We woke up early, excited to kick start our 2 weeks road trip in the beautiful New Zealand. We had simple breakfast in our 2 rooms family suite in Surrey Hotel, checked out (just dropped the key to the friendly reception staff!), loaded the luggages into our car, woohoo, off we went...
The pretty white houses and green sceneries which greeted us the moment we drove out of Auckland.
Auckland is pretty much like any major big cities, such as Kuala Lumpur, with all the big and well linked motorways, commercial buildings and shopping malls. Our heart sang as we drove out of Auckland heading to Matamata, a small rural town where the Hobbiton Movie Set is located. We were greeted by beautiful greeneries and thousands of New Zealand's sheep and cows. Our city kids, Brother Bear especially, were overjoyed. They wanted Papa Bear to make a stop, so that they could go near the sheep or cows. But as those were not visiting farms and all compounds were gated with electric fence, we could not go near. We could only admire them from far. But we did manage to find a rest stop along the way which was facing a farm with a big herd of sheep and cows. The locals must be wondering where did we come from, that we were so fascinated with the sheep and cows so much! Pardon us, it was our second day in New Zealand! LOL
The blue sky, the green grass, the black and white NZ cows. Brother Bear was overjoyed.
The drive to Matamata supposed to be 2 hours 15 minutes, but it took us 3 hours, because of the numerous stops we made. We were too busy admiring the sceneries and wanted to snap as much pictures as possible, plus it started drizzling, which slowed down the journey a little. We arrived the Hobbiton Movie Set at 10.50am, just in time for the 11am tour. But we decided to join a later tour, as it was raining. The tour continued regardless of rain or shine, but with kiddos, we decided it's best to wait for the rain to subside a little. Thank God they were flexible with that, as long as there were still available spaces - they set a limit of max 40 persons per tour if I remember correctly.
Simple lunch at the on site cafe which served okay food. :)
We had simple lunch at the on site cafe and soon the rain subsided a little, we were all ready to go. We boarded the bus to head to the movie scene location and we were given one big umbrella each. We were the only family with kids, we were a little clumsy managing 3 kids, holding the umbrellas, and all. Luckily the tour guide and tour members were very understanding and patient. :)
Waiting to board the tour bus. It was 10 degree Celsius.
The Hobbiton was truly awesome. The reviews we read about the place was true. We had an enjoyable 2 hours tours, which everyone would agreed that it was too short. But I guess that's the best way to preserve the beauty of the place, by controlling the movement of the crowd through guided tour.
The beautiful Hobbiton village.
The home of the hobbits. Many asked if we could go in. The answer is no, as there was nothing inside, as they did not shoot the movie inside there, the actors are very tall in real life! :)
Can you see the houses across the river? That's the Green Dragon Cafe.
Hello... anybody home? :)
The tiny shirts of the Hobbits. :)
We had drinks at the Green Dragon Cafe after the tour. Truly awesome.
The bar that served drinks. :)
Time to rest the tired feet.
We drove to Rotorua after the tour. We arrived Lakeview Heights Farm Stay around 4pm. George and Alan, our host and hostess were very welcoming. Alan helped us with our luggage and both of them brought us to our 2 rooms family suite. They showed us around and explained to us on things we needed to know. The rooms were lovely and the parents room came with electric blanket - super awesome to sleep on during freezing winter.
Parents room - we could see Lake Rotorua from the window.
We rested in the rooms, kids definitely had fun playing in their kids room which was filled with toys, board games and story books. We were really glad to find such a nice place to stay at.
We went out for dinner after taking our much needed warm water shower. We picked a Chinese restaurant through the list of eateries, which George and Alan had thoughtfully compiled into a folder for their guests. The Chinese restaurant were run by the immigrant from China and the food were so authentic that we once thought we were in China, instead of New Zealand.
The stir fry Szechuan style beef. Yummy.
Kids' favourite sweet sour chicken.
Life was good, really good. Thank you God.